When people ask Mark Carruth what kind of food he serves at his restaurant, Avanti, he usually replies with a pithy remark: "the good kind."
Carruth said while he's partly joking, he is serious about the quality of Avanti's food. The vagueness of the response also leaves room for the broad range of dishes he may serve.
Carruth and Jeanne Schneider, who opened Avanti together in Tualatin in 2018 but were forced to close and leave the location on Nyberg Street in 2020, will reopen the restaurant in West Linn, hopefully by the end of May.
"We're resurrecting this thing that was in Tualatin," Carruth said.
While the couple were sad to close the original restaurant, Carruth said moving to West Linn might have a silver lining. He's excited about the kitchen space at their new spot on Eighth Avenue, while Schneider said she's eager to join the West Linn community.
Carruth, a native of Tennessee, has worked the past 25 years in restaurants around the Portland area. He met Schneider while at a restaurant in Lake Oswego 12 years ago.
After so much time in the restaurant business, Carruth believed he and Schneider had the know-how to run an eatery on their own.
He also liked the idea of not working under anyone. So he and Schneider decided to create a family to work with at Avanti. They eventually built that in Tualatin, cultivating not only employees but a customer base as well.
Schneider, who manages the front of the restaurant while Carruth runs the kitchen, said they're trying to create a place where people feel comfortable and welcome..
"We want people to feel like this is their place," Schneider said. "We thrive on being a neighborhood restaurant."
Whether customers stop by for a drink or an appetizer or dinner to celebrate an anniversary, Schnieder wants Avanti to be the place people want to be.
She added that the quality of Carruth's food makes it easier to attract customers.
Carruth describes his food as "informally delicious," meaning the kitchen will serve up plates that look like works of art as well as more classic comfort foods. Any dish at Avanti, he added, will be top quality with generous portions.
Avanti in Italian means "move forward" or "let's go!" which Schneider said is fitting after the difficulty of losing the restaurant in Tualatin.
"The past couple of years have been super hard, but we're trying to move forward no matter what," Schneider said. "This is what we love to do. This is our way of bringing who we are to our community."
She hopes Avanti's reopening inspires others who've had a hard time recently.
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